Travelreport Meta and Edi Schroll

Travelreport from Meta and Edi Schroll - Aug 06

(Translation by Judith Helms) - August 2006

On our trip to the national parks and historical sites in the West we spent six days on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

We found a perfect camp site for our trailer at the Singing Horse Trading Post near Manderson. We were really lucky because during our visit there was a big pow wow in Pine Ridge - a very colourful and unique event AND the yearly Sobriety Ride organised by the Horsemenship.

We joined Dolores , the wife of the Horsemenship's chairman Wendell Yellow Bull, on her way into the prairie. There under extremley hot and dusty conditions - (about 100 F) the participants of the Sobriety Ride had spent the night and were now getting ready for the 3rd and last day of their ride.

Everybody - kids and teenagers - stood in a big circle and listened to the Lakota prayers and the good wishes of one of the elders for their upcoming ride.

Afterwards Wendell Yellow Bull blessed every horse and it's rider with sage. It was very solemn and we really enjoyed having the chance to be there despite the tremendous heat , the wind and the sand in our eyes and mouth.

The departure was like everywhere in the world - some took the lead and rushed to the front, the majority stayed in the middle and a few riders whose bucking horses gave them a difficult start stayed in the back of the group.

There were appoximatley 50 riders, which gives you an idea of what a big and proud riding nation the Lakotas used to be. They presented themselves as proud and confident horsemen. Many with saddles some only with pads and some bareback. But everybody managed their horse equally and enviously perfectly .

Some hours later we were waiting at the half way mark to Pine Ridge in the open prairie for the tired and thirsty but happy and very confident looking young riders. They raced towards us with cheering and "yehaas". Each rider got a bottle with half a liter of water, which the kids had to share with their horse. During this break they let the horses eat from the dry prairie grass which German horses never would have touched .

The next part of the ride was across the prairie up- and downhill without any kind of shade and in increasing heat.

The completely exhausted riders arrived at the Pine Ridge pow wow ground in the afternoon.

You could tell and feel how proud and happy everybody was to reach the finish line after spending 8 hours every day for three days in the saddle.

They had had to endure heat, wind, thirst, hunger and some had to endure pain caused by falls and smaller accidents with their horses.

This experience gave those kids with difficult backgrounds a huge affirmation and confidence. The community of equal minded ones and the work with horses has a positive affect on the physical and mental development of youngsters anyway. These are good conditions to resist the daily temptations of alcohol and drugs.

Wendell Yellow Bull and other active members of the Horsmenship organization have done a great job before and during the ride. How the ride was organized and responsibility for this trip was taken very seriously. It was well worth the effort!

Watching those Lakota kids with their horses made us, as observers, very happy. We felt a great deal of happiness and were thankful that we had the privilege to be there and see how children and horses form a unified whole.

We are convinced that this organization definitely deserves all support.

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